Your electrical service panel has a very important job in your home. It may look like a simple steel box from the outside, but its insides control the breakers that control the circuits and deliver electricity to your entire home.
Much like any other appliance in your household, it needs some TLC every once in a while. Here are a few signs that you may need to repair or replace your service panel:
Your Home is 30+
If your home is over 30 years old, it’s very likely that you need a service panel upgrade. If your home is over 50, it’s absolutely necessary. Older homes possess panels that range roughly from about 60 to 100 amps – newer homes average roughly 200. Because of these higher power demands, older panels in these homes will need upgrading in order to meet the electrical demands of you and your family in your home.
The Panel Smells and Warms Up
There are some physical signs that show your service panel is reaching the end of its life. Your panel should always be cool to the touch. If you notice that it feels warm, it’s possible that the panel is overloaded or was improperly installed. It could also be a signal that you have a faulty connection as well. If there is an increase in heat due to a poor connection, you may be able to smell burning. If this is the case, there could be potential for home damage such as an electrical fire. It’s best to call a professional immediately.
Frequent Panel Tripping
Frequent tripping is never a good sign. The system will trip when you plug too many appliances into a circuit which requires more power than the circuit can accommodate. The “tripping” or cutting off power is a safety measure to prevent the wires from overheating. This may mean that just the breaker needs to be replaced and not the whole panel.
Flickering Lights and Slow Appliances
If your lights flicker when other appliances are active, there could be a connection problem with the panel. If an appliance is running and it seems to have a weakened output, it may be a result of overloaded circuits. Your panel may no longer be able to meet the electrical requirements of your home.
Constant Use of Extension Cords
While extension cords can be beneficial, but they should be temporary. An over-reliance on them could be potentially dangerous. In addition to being a tripping hazard, electrical wires are usually kept in or against walls for a purpose, a protected system of wiring leads to less wear and tear. Exposed wires can get shorted or pinched leading to damaged outlets. A professional will be able to install more outlets and reduce the overall stress on your service panel.
Are You Making Other Upgrades?
If you are expanding your home, remodeling, or installing new appliances, this might be the ideal time for upgrading your electrical panel. Newer appliances will have different requirements, so it’s best to transition smoothly.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Call Raynor Electric to upgrade your service panel today.